A couple of months ago we ran a two-week ‘Grammar and Writing’ course for teens (aged 14+). I was scheduled to teach these classes but, to be honest, the prospect didn’t fill me with excitement. I enjoy teaching teens in general, but it can be a real chore to motivate them at times. I couldn’t see developing writing skills being that inspiring, and grammar wasn’t exactly going to get them rocking up ten minutes before class in anticipation either. (more…)
What’s your staffroom like? Do you know what’s in all those cupboards and drawers? Is there dust collecting on most of the supplementary materials? What’s in that unlabelled ring binder?
I’m lucky to have worked in some really well-stocked staffrooms. I mean, the one in LTC Eastbourne had EVERYTHING – they were hoarders. Never had they thrown out a cassette tape(!), a freebie, a flashcard, a material produced in-house… it was a veritable ELT jungle. Despite the abundance of materials, I rarely explored the bookshelves and cupboards. The day I did… wow! Thirty minutes of rummaging saved me about 10 hours planning in the long run. It also resulted in me trialling ‘Teaching with Bear’, which wasn’t my finest hour. I can’t think why my intermediate adults didn’t take to it…
If I were inducting new staff I’d certainly schedule half an hour of staffroom rummaging. We don’t really make the most of the staffroom resources in my centre. We prepare almost everything on our computers, and search for supplementary materials online. Sure, it’s more convenient. It just that there’s a whole other wall of lesson inspiration just sitting there, and most of us have our backs to it!
So, yesterday I finally turned around. I was right, I knew I’d find something worthwhile. No ‘Teaching with Bear’ though…
This book by Jamie Keddie was mentioned during my MA module in Materials Development. It’s full of great tasks for making the most of images and sometimes building whole lessons around them. ‘Noun Marriages’ looks like a good task, might give it a go soon…
This ‘Top Tips for IELTS’ book is quite good too. It’s full of short tasks for practising different skills and strategies. It summaries key information about the course, and has quite a few of those tiny tips that really count for a lot of marks… (more…)
A self-development task during my diploma last year asked me to list all the websites I found useful in my ELT practice. The document I created spanned about 6 pages – it could easily have been longer.
I’m sure there’s a lot of common ground between us teachers, experienced or not. A majority of the sites I use were either found through a Google Search or passed on from colleagues. Nevertheless, I think it’s worth listing a few of my favourite sites as some serve rather specific purposes.
I hope you find at least one new website in the list below. If so, please tell others about it – sharing is caring! (more…)
CET is an online professional development platform which currently offers about 20 courses related to teaching, learning and assessment. They range in length and price, with some only costing a few dollars and requiring only 4 hours of study. There are 6 introductory courses covering different exams in the Cambridge suite – each one requires around 25 hours of study time and costs about $15 (depending on your location).
Why did I take this training course?
My lack of exam teaching, along with my lack of experience teaching Very Young Learners, are two big gaps in my teaching CV. Taking this online course showed my new employer that I was committed to developing my skills in this area, and I was given opportunities to observe and teach IELTS courses almost immediately. (more…)
I stumbled across Google Trends on the net last year after reading a blog by Jeremy Kritt. I did a project on Trends back in June, and found it a great resource for lessons.
Google Trends provides information of what people are searching for on the internet. It allows you to explore pretty much any search item, from David Beckham to i-phones, Bognor Regis to Chelsea FC. At the click of a button, you can get information on how popular these search items are on Google, and how that’s changed over the last few days, months or years.
Here’s a search I did a while back for ‘Of Mice and Men’, analysing the popularity of this term in search engines over the previous 90 days. Here’s what I found… (more…)